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Issue: #53
July 2015
In This Issue

Mission of the PRA

The Mission of the Pensacola Runners Association is to promote, support and develop running and racing along the northern Gulf Coast. Our objective is to provide information, education, training, social and sporting events for competitive and non- competitive runners and walkers of all ages, races, genders and abilities.


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From The Top


By Eric Miller   

Happy July folks! We are one month into the 2015-2016 year and are thrilled to see amazing things already happening at the Pensacola Runners Association.


First, a huge thanks to Board Member Corey Dell for making the annual PRA Membership Social a resounding success. Our turnout was far better than expected, nearly doubling the attendance of last year's event (which we will keep in mind for future food and drink orders). It's always great to see new and old faces showing up to join and hang out with the PRA!


For those who were not in attendance, a new program was announced at the social. Starting in early October, the PRA will be offering weekly interval workouts at the Washington High School Track, overseen by University of West Florida Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach, Caleb Carmichael! These workouts will be free, exclusive to our membership and customized to each participant's fitness level and goals. Please watch our Facebook page and your email for further details as October approaches!


On Saturday July 18, the PRA partnered with the Pensacola Sports Association and the Volition Half Marathon and 5K planning committee to host the Varsity Sports Running Club for a preview of the Volition course, followed by a short social. Just under 40 people showed up for an assisted 3 mile run, pastries, bananas, water and beer and showed our guests from Cajun Country a great time. A huge thanks to Diane Martinez, Jason Libbert and Jehan Clark for making that event a success, and a special thanks to the folks from Varsity Sports.


In addition to the chance to show off our downtown to some runners from another city, events like the July 18th training run are a great reminder of what the PRA is about, bringing Northwest Florida runners together to train, compete and socialize. During my time in various running communities (and training with varying degrees of seriousness), I've seen one almost universal truth, training is a heck of a lot easier when there are people training with you. A running partner or group provides the excitement of shared success when things go well and accountability and support when they don't. Some of my most treasured friendships have come from folks with whom I've had the pleasure to train. To be a runner, particularly during the hot summer months of Florida, requires a certain insanity that few people will understand other than the pairs of shoes pounding the pavement next to you.  


The moral of this message is, whether you run a 4:00 minute mile or a 20:00 minute mile, if you find yourself having a tough time getting motivated or want to take your running to the next level, find a running partner, find a group, meet up and go. While we hope you can find what you're looking for through PRA (and we plan to start hosting more events like the Volition Course Preview/Social), there are many free group runs in the area throughout the week hosted by a variety of organizations. Check out Running Pensacola for a list of options.


Until next time, keep training!



Nominations Needed For
The PRA Volunteer Of The Year 

The Pensacola Runners Association established a new award two years ago to honor the Volunteer of The Year. Without our hard-working, loyal volunteers it would be impossible to accomplish the mission of the PRA by promoting running and walking, conducting quality races and enhancing the well-being of the Northwest Florida community. The recipient will be announced at the Seafood Festival Don McCloskey 5K.

2013 Volunteer Of The Year, Sherry Readdy (center), with former PRA Presidents
Laura Harris and Lewis Reddoch

Please forward your nominations to our President, Eric Miller, at or

2013 VOY Sherry Readdy

Runner Of The Month
Stephanie O'Connor

It's all about attitude, isn't it? Every day we encounter situations that present a challenge, test our preparation and perhaps try our patience. At such times it is good to have positive, upbeat, optimistic people around you. They expect the best, try their hardest and revel in their efforts, challenges and successes. Such a person is our Runner Of The Month, Stephanie O'Connor.

Stephanie was born and raised in Oklahoma City and came to Northwest Florida 14 years ago when her husband was transferred to an area military duty station. She has resided in Navarre since then.

Stephanie is a Registered Nurse who works at the
Stephanie Wins Another Award
Andrews Institute and also the Gulf Breeze hospital. Her current assignment is the outpatient surgery department.

As a teenager she was not allowed to participate in her physical education classes due to an irregular heartbeat. She has since "outgrown" that issue. Three years ago, after a birthday that ended with a "0", she decided she wanted to compete in triathlons and began by going out running.

That turned out to be easier said than done. She started by running at night so that no one was watching her initial efforts. A neighbor suggested she run a block and walk a block for three miles. Soon she was running more and more and walking less. After a short while she was running the entire distance. She's been hooked on the sport ever since then.

Her favorite race is the Double Bridge Run (DBR) because of the great scenery and, also, the huge crowds running on the bridges inspire her. On her third attempt she ran the entire 15K distance, felt great and celebrated with her running peeps afterwards.
Stephanie (center) And Friends Following The DBR

BUT, what about that triathlon she had her mind set on? 

Since starting to run and since barely being able to cover a block, she's become quite a multi-sport athlete. Her first triathlon was in 2012 and she's since completed 12 of these events including the Augusta 70.3 Half-ironman. 


When not working or training, she enjoys traveling,

outdoors adventures and her pugs. She says "we are blessed to live in such a beautiful place and have so many opportunities to compete in races and train outdoors all year round." You'll see Stephanie O'Connor on the roads and at the races - she'll have a great attitude and a huge smile. 

Upcoming PRA Races

The Pensacola Runners Association and the University of West Florida Cross Country team are partnering to hold the Argonaut Welcome Back 5K race on August 29th. This fun, challenging 5K is a great way to give back to the Northwest Florida running community! 100% of the profits will go to support the University of West Florida Argonaut Cross Country Team, who give endless hours of their time volunteering at area races each year. You can find all the details HERE.
The Seafood Festival Don McCloskey 5K is coming on September 26 at 7:30 AM. The downtown Pensaola race course is a flat, fast, scenic route that will kick off your fall racing season with a possible PR. You will also have an opportunity to eat some of the best seafood anywhere at the Pensacola Seafood Festival after the race.  All the information and registration can be found  HERE!   


Stuck In A Rut

by Corey Dell

PRA Board of Directors 

As you all know, I've been writing in The Rundown for Corey Dell the last three years.  I've given you my opinions, thoughts, and suggestions on topics such as hydration, nutrition, and the list goes on and on.  I've even discussed some of my personal journey in completing a half ironman, as well as a local crossfit competition. 

I can honestly say over the last year, I've been on a running hiatus. I've avoided running at all costs (ironic considering I'm a Board Member of the Pensacola Runners Association). I joined a swim group at Pensacola State College on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which adds so much to my cardiovascular fitness and the Coach, Alex, is great!!  I lift weights almost every day of the week. However, after my knee injury last year, I seemed to have avoided running altogether.  I'm better now and not injured, so there really isn't an excuse NOT to run. 

I attempted my first 3-mile run a month ago.  It was actually more of a walk/run, but I am determined now more than ever to get back in to running condition.  My point is, there are times we get bored with training, life gets in the way (imagine that), and other things become a priority.  Often times, our health becomes secondary to everything else.  A few things I've learned to get motivated to run again include:  do not run on a treadmill, change your routine or route, and join a running club for accountability.

Until next time, Happy Running!! 
Sara McLarty Is In Pensacola
For A Triathlon Competiton
And A Training Camp Event

Ben Dillon, PRA Board Member, is an accomplished runner and an experienced Xterra triathlete. Xterra is the international race series that includes an outdoor swim (usually a lake or river), a mountain bike trail leg and a trail run. He started such an event this year with the Xterra Blackwater race which will be held on August 2nd.

Sara McLarty is an internationally-known swimmer, professional triathlete and coach. She was a 15-time All-american swimmer at the University of Florida, has represented the United States in the World University games and two times in the Pan American games. She was named the rookie triathlon professional of the year early in her career and is now a standout on the Xterra Circuit. Her business partner Misty Becerra is an age group National Champion, expert swimmer and former rugby star at Florida Atlanta University. Both women are certified triathlon and swimming coaches.
Sara McLarty and Misty Becerra At Fort Pickens

Sara and Misty are committed to racing the Xterra series on the way to the national and world championship events. So, they're entered in the Xterra Blackwater race. When that news became public they were engaged to conduct a triathlon camp for the local Zarzaur Law Firm Gavel Girlz Triathlon Team.

Zarzaur Law Firm Gavel Girlz Triathlon Team
At 7 am, the day began with a brisk 17-mile ride to Fort Pickens. Two hours of open water swimming, drills and instruction in the Guf Of Mexico followed and the session wrapped up with running drills,body activation exercises, core workouts and more instruction.  The all-day camp was a great opportunity for local athletes to learn from some of the best.

Open Water Swimming Preparation
Body Activation


More Running Tips 


    Triathlon Forget-Me-Nots!
Race day and the days leading up can often be hectic. If it is a local race you may be working the day before; if it is a nearby race you may be waking up extra early to get to the race site; if it is a destination race you are trying to pack for race and "vacation" days.  All of this while working, making dinner, driving the kids to school, training, and resting too!!!  All that said take a deep breath, let's mention a few things not to forget at home on race day!!

1) Safety Pins.  You have your race belt so you think you don't need safety pins.  But what if your belt breaks or the little latch in hole on your bib tears- SAFETY PINS!!!  These will also save you if you have to put back in a string for tri bottoms, if your zipper breaks, or, ladies, if you need to fix your bra or bathing suit top.

2) Sunscreen.  Some longer races offer sunscreen as you leave transition or on the course; however, taking your own sunscreen ensures no allergic reactions on race day and you know what it feels like on your skin.

3) Flashlight or Head Lamp.  At 4AM it will be dark outside. Transition will most likely be dark, so unless you train transition set up with your eyes closed, a flashlight or headlamp will help you to navigate a speedy set up while others wait for day break.

4) Sharpie.  Yes they will have body marking or tattoo numbers, but having a sharpie in your bag is helpful if you put on your sunscreen and your number disappears or when you need to make a note on your forearm to remind you to "stay the course".

5) Toilet Paper.  A little ziplock bag with some toilet paper will never let you down.  This is great if you need to blow your nose or if you start to notice a shortage of paper products in the port-a-potties.
These five items are small items but when needed they can have a HUGE impact on your race and your peace of mind!

The PRA Is Looking  
 For Volunteers (ALWAYS)!

The Pensacola Runners Association is a not-for-profit organization that is 100% volunteer driven. None of our members are compensated for all the hours that are put in organizing and holding our events and helping out at MANY other events across Northwest Florida throughout the year.
PRA Waterstop Volunteers
If you are interested in volunteering or in becoming a Race Director, please email PRA President-elect Eric Miller at  Thanks very much!!